EXCLUSIVE: Poll shows parents are preparing for school shutdowns this fall


A new NEWSTALK 1010 exclusive poll paints a pessimistic picture as parents get ready to send their children back to school.

The polling by Maru/BLUE finds nearly three quarters of parents in the GTA (73 percent) and across Ontario (72 percent) are concerned that despite all of the work done to get schools ready for reopening, we will have a big outbreak soon in schools and everything will close down.

It finds the concern is greatest among parents with elementary school children with 77 percent of parents sharing this concern. The number is 66 percent for parents of high school students.

"What the polling shows is that a majority of parents believe that there is likely to be an outbreak of some kind," said John Wright, Executive Vice President of Maru/Blue Public Opinion North America.

He says most parents are likely preparing for the possibility of an outbreak.

Despite everything the province and the school boards are doing to prepare, Wright suggests there are still questions to be answered.

"How do you deal with a classroom that is going to be shut down for two weeks? Do those children automatically go online and if they go online...why would they go back?" he asks.

Last week, the province released new guidance to help prevent and manage outbreaks in schools. It says parents must screen children daily and they should not attend class if they have any symptoms of the virus. Teachers and principals will be asked to isolate any child that develops symptoms at school and send the child home when a parent can pick them up. A child must be symptom free for 24 hours before they are allowed to return to school. Schools will be required to advise parents of any positive tests while not identifying the student. If someone tests positive, their classroom cohort will be told to self-isolate and testing will be recommended.

The findings come from a Maru/Blue Public Opinion Poll conducted among 761 (+/ -4.1%) randomly selected Ontario parents of elementary and secondary aged students who are members Maru/Blue's Maru Online panel from August 14-17, 2020 and is considered accurate for 761 (+/-4.1%), 402 elementary student parents (+/- 5.6%), 359 secondary school parents (+/-5.9%) , and a combined total of parents in the Greater Toronto Area of 360 (+/-5.9%).


With files from The Canadian Press